Dog Cat Love

Puppy Mill “Mom” Beats the Odds, but Carries the Trauma

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Submitted by Isabella D., Midland, MI

Dog in owners lap

When I adopted my dog Groovy from an animal shelter, her backstory broke my heart. The shelter told me she was a breeding dog at a puppy mill, but after trying to breed her several times without getting any puppies from her, the mill dumped her at the shelter.

Groovy had lived in a tiny, stacked wire cage. Even now, at five years old, she fears her own shadow and the wind. She has emotional trauma and carries her toys around like babies, panicking if anyone gets too close. She has severe skin issues all over her body, as well as mouth inflammation. She’s had to have most of her teeth removed due to infection from complete neglect of her dental health while in the mill.

Surprisingly, despite everything she’s been through, Groovy is the most loving and affectionate dog I’ve ever known, taking every chance she gets to kiss my nose or jump into my arms.


Groovy’s suffering may seem like a tragic exception, but it is the norm for most breeding dogs kept in commercial facilities. Even in puppy mills licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the standards of care are notoriously low. Current federal regulations are so weak and enforcement is so poor that breeders can keep dogs constantly caged and deny access to regular exercise, socialization and even adequate vet care. The truth is, most breeding females do not end up in a loving home once their bodies give out. Their puppies are also prone to a host of lifelong, expensive medical and behavioral problems.

Puppy mill operators care more about profits than dogs.

All dogs deserve the good life—but as long as the secretive puppy-breeding industry continues to hide the truth, too many dogs will remain victims of its cruelty. Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to find out how you can make a difference and stand up for puppy mill victims like Groovy.



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